S&P Global: Delivering quality data faster to private market managers

S&P Global: Delivering quality data faster to private market managers

S&P Global Market Intelligence won Best buy-side managed data service at the Buy‑Side Technology Awards 2023. Kevin Guy, head of iLEVEL Managed Data Services at S&P Global, discusses the service, its benefits and key differentiators.

What is S&P Global’s iLEVEL Managed Data Services, what does it do and what are the benefits to buy-side firms that subscribe to it?

Kevin Guy, S&P Global Market Intelligence
Kevin Guy, S&P Global

Kevin Guy: iLEVEL Managed Data Services centralizes critical information about clients’ private investment portfolios, using the collective intelligence of data ingestion technology and human-in-the-loop processing. The service specializes in the processing of financial and operational reporting from fund managers, portfolio companies and borrowers, enabling clients to achieve operational alpha- and data-driven insights across private markets.

We provide a full-service offering that allows clients to “set and forget”. Our team functionalizes the end-to-end private markets data workflow into the following core components: source document collection, data extraction, data review, standardization, exception management and service delivery. Through a holistic approach, our service leverages best-in-breed technology at each step of the process, alongside complementary subject matter expertise, resulting in faster data processing and increased data coverage.

The primary benefit to our clients is how our team lifts the operational burden of sourcing and processing data so they can focus on gaining deeper insights and executing analysis. Based on a recent survey of iLEVEL Services clients, the top two functions for which our team provided the most value were sourcing and processing portfolio data, and then reviewing the data to ensure accuracy.

What are the key differentiators of iLEVEL Managed Data Services compared with other similar services on the market? What does it allow buy-side firms to achieve that they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to?   

Kevin Guy: Two key differentiators come to mind. The first is our comprehensive end-to-end approach to sourcing and processing portfolio data. Often, alternative solutions might address one function of the end-to-end data processing workflow—for example, a solution might offer a document management platform; however, users are still required to extract the data from the source document manually. Similarly, data extraction engines can be narrow and deep in one part of the data processing workflow, only solving for one step in the process.

By contrast, iLEVEL Managed Data Services solves for all functions within that end-to-end data processing workflow—the collection, extraction and review of data. We deploy a best-in-breed approach to data processing, leveraging a combination of proprietary solutions and third-party tools, or a hybrid of both. This approach allows us to optimize that end-to-end workflow and enable our clients to operate at scale. For example, within our fund investment service, where a client might have hundreds or thousands of fund investments and tens of thousands of underlying source documents to review, we take the operational burden off their plate by processing data on their behalf and at scale.

And the other key differentiator?  

Kevin Guy: iLEVEL Managed Data Services comprises three service types: direct equity, credit and fund investments. In recent years, many buy-side managers have adopted a more sophisticated and diversified approach to their investments where it is not uncommon for them to launch direct equity, credit and fund strategies within their portfolios. With iLEVEL Managed Data Services, multi‑strategy clients can have all of that underlying asset, borrower and fund data processed by a single solution. By contrast, other service providers in the market have limited processing capabilities tailored to one investment strategy. For clients who are looking for a one‑stop-shop solution, S&P Global offers premium data, software and services catering to all investment strategies.

What are the key objectives planned for release within the service during 2024? Can you describe those objectives and what that will mean practically for clients?

Kevin Guy: There are two big road map items on which we are focused going into 2024. The first is getting more data into the hands of our clients. A trend in the private markets space over the past five to 10 years is the rise of data reported by underlying assets and fund managers. This is something the industry has long sought to achieve—increased transparency and data sharing in the private markets. As more data is reported, we need to ensure our service is capturing and delivering these expanded datasets to our clients at scale. A few key datasets we are focusing on in 2024 are deeper asset-level operating metrics for our fund investments, including environmental, social and governance‑related metrics, and fund financial data. These new data items will continue to enrich the datasets our clients already receive as part of our service, enabling deeper insights and analytics than ever before.

The second key focus area for 2024 is around data management-as-a-service (DMaaS). As clients tap into more and more datasets—proprietary and third party—they must find ways to reconcile them to align with their views of the investment world. While this is already part of our managed data service offering, in 2023 we launched DMaaS as a stand-alone offering. It is certainly something our team is excited about scaling in 2024, so clients can continue to outsource their operational burdens and maximize value from our offerings.

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